The curation on this page spotlights the work of transgender authors, artists, thinkers and creatives. Including an assortment of mediums and genres, and works that defy categorisation, this reading list provides a glimpse into the unendingly diverse narrative worlds of trans people. Here you shall find stories and accounts spanning a broad variety of topics, written by authors with unique voices who have refused to be pigeonholed into conventional narratives.
Hi, I'm Tilly! I'm a second-year English Literature student from London, and I'm nonbinary.
I am passionate about the authorial presence and representation of transgender people in popular literature, film, and art, and aim to encourage greater curiosity, understanding and acceptance within the university community.
Little Shiva, Wigstock 92: Coco c/o Patricia Field,1992, film and ink, 3.4" x 3.2", Flickr. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial, No-Derivatives 2.0 Generic License.
Narratives – told through films, paintings, plays, comic books, and many other forms - shape not only the way we see the world around us, but also how we see ourselves: as a platform for representation, an environment for exploration, and a window into diverse experiences and perspectives.
Mokobe's powerful slam poem bellow exemplifies the revelatory possibilities of transgender storytelling:
Platforming transgender voices in our university community is particularly crucial amid a contemporary hike in trans-hate in the UK. There has been an undeniable increase in anti-trans rhetoric and proposed legislation in UK politics within recent years.
Transphobic legislation, political rhetoric and medical inaccessibility has an undeniable impact upon the lives of trans people in the UK. My curation aims to educate, and shine a light of validation upon, the University community amid misinformation and derision.
Hear what trans actor and activist Samy Nour Younes has to say about transgender activism's past, present and future:
The reading list below is available to anyone, but please note that links to e-resources are only available to students and staff at the University of York. You can also access the list on a separate webpage.
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The Digital Transgender Archive, an online hub of digitised historical materials and archival holdings, aims to increase the accessibility of transgender history. Based in Massachussetts, it is an international collaboration of over 60 universities, organisations and collections. Click here to see the archive.
The National Archive's transgender collection contains records and artefacts from the lives of historical trans figures, such as April Ashley, Fanny and Stella, and Dr James Barry, complete with insightful and informative blogposts. Click here to see the archive.
The Louise Lawrence Transgender Archive, founded and directed by Ms. Bob Davis who has been collected since 1979, is a community-based institution available to the public to preserve transgender history and encourage its study and scholarship. Click here to see the archive.
The GLBT History Society (founded in 1985) collects, preserves, and exhibits materials both online and physically exhibited in their Archives and Research Centre and GLBT Historical Society Museum, in San Fransisco. Click here to see the archive.
The University of York's Borthwick Archives originally specialised in ecclesiastical archives, but over the past three decades it's collection has grown in range and type of holdings. Materials, sources and documents held by the Institute may be used to explore York's transgender history. The University's research guide to LGBTQ+ history aims to uncover the hidden history of LGBTQ+ people, such as Barbara Hill, Anne Lister and Edward Hewiston. Click here to see the archive.
The Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria has been committed, since 2011, to preserving the history of trans people. Their collection comprises the largest trans archive in the world, and is freely accessible to all. Consisting of documents, publications and memorabilia of trans activists and organisations, their records go back over 120 years, including 15 languages, 23 countries and six continents. Check out their digital exhibits here. Click here to see the archive.
More information and direct support is available via the University of York's LGBTQ+ Sources of Support page.
Nash Glynnn, Self Portrait with One Foot Forward and One Hand Reaching Out, 2020 acrylic paint on canvas, 48" x 35" Tate, London. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/glynn-self-portrait-with-one-foot-forward-and-one-hand-reaching-out-l04617.
Copyright © Nash Glynn. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The Stonewall Organisation defines "trans" as an "umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth".
My project shall embrace this non-restrictive definition, including works by authors who queer the dominant conceptualisation of gender in endlessly different and unique ways.
This curation shall highlight the voices of those who transverse, transgress and transcend binarizing Western gender norms - aiming to counter the silencing and stereotyping that has suppressed trans voices.
Watch Lee Mokobe's slam poetry performance about the power of their artistic voice: